Third time’s a charm, they say. And we may have actually found a winner with the third Peruvian president within a week – Francisco Sagasti Hochhauser.
You may have seen the tear gas-ladened protests in the last week that culminated in the deaths of two young protestors. The protests nationwide were in response to Congress impeaching the president, Martín Vizcarra, and voting in their own choice for president, Manuel Merino, who then stepped down over the weekend. How could he not with thousands of people across the country wielding “Get Out Merino” and “Merino Isn’t My President” signs.
Voted in to take Merino’s place is Sagasti who began his inauguration speech this afternoon apologizing to the parents of the deceased youth. His speech seemed to successfully acknowledge the country’s challenges and provide hopefulness for potential ways forward to overcome not only the havoc the pandemic has wrought on the country but also the heavy mistrust of the government.
At the end of his speech, he quotes a poem from a famous Peruvian poet, Cesar Vallejo.
“Examinando, en fin,
sus encontradas piezas, su retrete,
su desesperación, al terminar su día atroz, borrándolo…
que él sabe que le quiero,
que le odio con afecto y me es, en suma, indiferente…
Considerando sus documentos generales
y mirando con lentes aquel certificado
que prueba que nació muy pequeñito…
Le hago una seña,
y le doy un abrazo…
his found parts, his toilet,
his desperation upon finishing his terrible day, erasing it….
that he knows I love him,
that I hate him with affection and in short, don’t care about him…
Considering his general documents
and scrutinizing with glasses that certificate
that proves he was born very small…
I signal to him.
and I embrace him…
They were words of hope for reconciliation and maybe even forgiveness, despite so much pain, resentment, differences, and disagreements.
Reciting the final words of the poem, Sagasti gets choked up.
And I did too as I realized that I could use the same reminder not only in the world of politics but also in my every interaction with another human being.